People with learning disabilities have benefited from a new app allowing them to easily access all their health and well-being information.
Maldaba, a software development agency, are the innovators behind My Health Guide which is an app commissioned and funded by NHS England and The Small Business Research Initiative for Healthcare.
It enables users to capture video, audio, images and text in a single format allowing them to share selected information with carers, guardians and health professionals.
It was designed in collaboration with Humber NHS Foundation Trust, which covers Hull and the East Riding of Yorkshire, who signed a three-year contract to implement the Guide as part of its care delivery model for learning disabilities. The decision follows a 12-month initial trial.
Humber’s clinical care director for children and learning disability services, Trish Bailey, said the Guide allows for better communication between the hospital and individual.
“My Health Guide gives us the opportunity to work with individuals to help them understand very clearly the health concerns we have for them, and it helps them to be in control,” Bailey said.
Maldaba director Lorenzo Gordon said the app is a first of its kind. “There have been similar ideas, but none that put primacy of use and control in the hands of the service user like this,” Gordon said.
“We [Maldaba] have been working in healthcare and digital health since 2002 and have created lots of amazing things [web and mobile] but this is a first for people with learning disabilities.”
Lennie, who suffers from learning disabilities and is an in-patient at Humber NHS Trust was one of the first to benefit from the app.
He would previously carry a diary, documenting medications and other important information relating to his health, such as Diabetes and high blood pressure, which proved challenging as his papers and notes would go missing.
Bailey said for him to have something like the Guide that retains information in one location has been revolutionary.
“The biggest issue for people with learning disabilities is communicating effectively with other people such as how they’re feeling, what they want, what makes them happy or sad – I would recommend anybody suffering from a learning disability to give it a go,” Bailey said.
Lennie said prior to My Health Guide he couldn’t tell people how he was feeling, but now he can better express himself.
Gordon said having Humber jump on board validates the technology and shows Humber’s commitment to the project. “It provides sufficient time to look at use, learn from best practice, and understand how to maximise the benefit of MHG,” Gordon said.
The next steps of the roll-out and implementation plan will be to support Humber NHS staff to embed My Health Guide in their daily working practices where it will go from 200 to 600 service users.
Gordon said final figures from the 12-month trial will be published after the analysis is complete.